Carlton set to get new public toilet, another facility remains “unsightly and unwelcoming”

Carlton set to get new public toilet, another facility remains “unsightly and unwelcoming”
Brendan Rees

Carlton is set to receive a new public toilet, but local traders are expressing concerns as a similar facility in a nearby street is plagued by graffiti. 

Construction of a new public toilet has started within a section of a median strip on Faraday St, with works expected to be completed in June, after the original underground heritage-listed public toilet was decommissioned. 

Two car park spaces have been permanently removed to make way for the Exello “Galaxy” toilet, a modern and compact cubicle with features such as an automatic sliding door, automatic flush, touchless handwashing station and a secure locking system.

However, Carlton Inc. executive officer Phillip Mansour said he and other traders were worried that the new toilet would suffer the same fate as the toilet in Argyle Place North, adjacent to Argyle Square.

“It’s unsightly and unwelcoming,” Mr Mansour said of the graffiti-riddled toilet, prompting concern that both toilets would not be sufficiently maintained nor regularly cleaned.  

He said the kerbside stainless-steel handrail/protective barrier around the site was damaged and remained “damaged for some time, and therefore not safe for children who may run onto the road easily as upkeep of safety barriers surrounding the facility had been neglected”. 

According to artist’s impressions, the new toilet will also have handrails and a protective barrier.

The City of Melbourne said once opened, the new Faraday St toilet, located between Lygon St and Drummond St, would be maintained as part of the council’s regular cleaning and maintenance program.

According to a council report, which detailed community feedback based on four proposed locations for the new toilet, all of which were situated on Faraday St, some traders expressed concern it would “negatively impact their businesses”.

“Concerns generally related to how the unappealing design might deter customers, as might the anti-social behaviour that is thought to occur around public toilets,” it said.

Some respondents also “described the designs as unsightly”, and that the “visual impact of the installation would not add to the streetscape, rather that it would detract from it”.

However, the report noted residents generally felt the location of the toilet was the preferred option as this “would cause the least disruption to the area” and “it seemed to make more sense as a public toilet had been there previously”. •

“Several comments were made about the design of the proposed public toilets, suggesting that there would possibly be less opposition if a more attractive design were chosen.”

Two rounds of consultation were undertaken in 2019 and 2020. The heritage underground toilet, which was closed due to safety and accessibility reasons, will not be demolished as part of the works.

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